As in most of the world, winter in Japan is a magical season, with an avalanche of winter foods and seasonal traditions enjoyed among beautiful landscapes only found in this place, at this time of year.
From neon lit cities to high mountains and lush nature, Japan is every photographer’s dream, offering endless options for that one perfect shot. In this article we introduce some of the favorite hot spots in the cold season.
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Hokkaido: Snow Capped Peaks of Niseko
Niseko in the northern island of Hokkaido, is world renowned for its top-class powder snow. This winter wonderland is a paradise for winter sports and photography alike. The snow-covered landscapes, including the iconic Mount Yotei, create a picturesque setting for capturing stunning winter scenes.
Shirakawa-go: UNESCO World Heritage Site
Another all-time favorite is the UNESCO world heritage site Shiragawa-go. Blanketed in snow, the scene transports us back to ancient times. The unique architecture of the traditional Gassho-style houses, are particularly enchanting in winter months when the peaked rooves are covered in thick layers of snow. Any shutterbug near this historic village in Gifu Prefecture will find it a worthwhile trip.
Of course, the one and only, iconic symbol of the nation, Mt. Fuji is a sight not to be missed. Head to Hakone in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park to see the famed towering volcano. Colder months bring clearer skies with better chances to see the often elusive giant in its full glory. With a little luck, you may be able to capture the infamous “diamond Fuji,” a vision formed when the sun sets or rises behind the mountain peak.
Kyoto: Snow-Covered Temples and Traditional Streets
Kyoto’s historical charm becomes even more magical in winter when snow sparkles throughout the temple grounds and ancient streets. In the stillness of winter, Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) and Fushimi Inari Shrine have a serene, reflective atmosphere that have inspired artists for centuries.
Tokyo: Winter Illuminations in Roppongi Hills
Tokyo, already a dazzling city of lights, kicks it up a notch in winter, especially in areas like Roppongi Hills. No photographer in the city can afford to miss the view of the lit-up Keyakizaka Street curving towards Tokyo Tower.
The capital, however, is not the only place to see amazing illuminations. Check this article to find out more about lesser known hidden gems in Japan to catch breathtaking beauty away from the crowds.